The number of films receiving grants has been increased this year
The Ministry of Information first provided a government grant of Tk2.5 lakh each to four film projects back in the fiscal year of 1976-77. Since then, the ministry has been granting funds to film-makers each year.
For the budget year of 2019-2020, the Ministry of Information announced the list of films receiving grants on June 25. The list has polarized artistes, distributors and Netizens.
More films receive government grants this year
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud informed the press prior to the announcement of the official grants list that the number of films receiving grants would be increased this year in order to support and sustain the industry.
On June 25, the government announced its final decision to give grants to 25 films; the list includes 16 full length and 9 short films. On the other hand, only 14 films got grants last fiscal year.
Keeping in mind that the Bangladeshi film industry has incurred massive losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government has taken the decision to increase the number of films this year.
Mushfiqur Rahman Gulzar's Tungiparar Dushahoshi Khoka, Giasuddin Selim's Kajolrekha, Badrul Anam Soud's Shyamakabbo, SA Haque Olike's Joddha, Rowshan Ara Rozina's Fire Dekha, Pradip Ghosh's Bhalobashar Pritilata, Ispahani Arif Jahan's Hridita, Fazlul Kabir Tuhin's Gangkumari, Shantosh Kumar Biswas's Chhayabrikkho, Pangkaj Palit's Ekti Na Bola Golpo, Awal Reza's Megh Roddur Khela, Mostafizur Rahman Manik's Ashirbad, Monjurul Islam's Bildakini, Iftekhar Shuvo's Lekhok, Anam Biswas's Football 71 and Nure Alam's Russeler Jonno Opekkha are the 16 full length films which will receive grants this year.
Short film makers including Fakhrul Arefin Khan, Prabil Kumar Sarker, Sharif Mahmud, ABN Nazmul Huda, Sajedul Islam, Debashish Das, Sohel Ahmed Siddiqui, Mitali Roy and Chaitali Samadder will also receive grants.
Film artistes thank Dr Hasan for increasing grants
According to BSS, film artistes, directors, producers and distributors today thanked Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud for giving grants to 25 films to support the industry during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Bangladesh Cholochitra Shilpi Samiti (Bangladesh Film Actors’ Association) president Misa Sawdagar and general secretary Zayed Khan called on the information minister and thanked him (Dr Hasan) on behalf of the artistes for taking time-befitting steps for the industry, said an official handout here.
They also expressed their gratitude to the information minister for increasing the number of films for grants.
Bangladesh Film Directors Association President Mushfiqur Rahman Gulzer also thanked Dr Hasan Mahmud.
In a congratulatory message, he said “We on behalf of our samiti are expressing gratitude to Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud for increasing the number of films for grants, giving priority to the mainstream films and increasing the amount of the grant.”
They also hoped that the trend would be continued in future and the information ministry would take pragmatic and proper steps for the industry to implement the commitment of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
In another congratulatory message, Bangladesh Film Director Distributor Association president KhorshedAlam thanked the information minister for the pragmatic steps taken for the film industry during the Coronavirus epidemic.
Outrage regarding the selection
Bangladesh Short Film Forum, Bangladesh Film Society, Bangladesh Documentary Council, Bangladesh Film Institute and Film without Film have released a press release condemning the official list of films receiving the government’s grants this year.
The press release read, “With great frustration, we are seeing today that the grants are being given to projects that would serve only commercial purposes, to people who have had no experience working in the industry. We are also questioning the judgment of the members of committee in charge of the official selection.
“Cinema is a powerful tool and it should reflect our sociopolitical realities. It should tell the stories of our own people and their dreams. Financing commercial films, filled with obscenity is not going to bring sustainable change to the landscape of our industry.”
Last year, a similar controversy shook the industry and the internet when the government released its official selection of films receiving grants.